It wasn't supposed to end like this.
With me clutching all my memories tight to my chest like a suit of armor against the darkness. All I have, all I am is here, stored in my brain, to pore over and over, like a photo album of secrets and shames and humiliations. A lifetime of mistakes, errors and pratfalls. Never ending sorries that echo into the quiet and keep me company. I have become that woman. You know, the one that talks to herself, incessantly, in an arrogant and unforgiving voice, you should have, you could have, you might have, but you did not or you did it badly. The pictures in the album are not kind. Unflattering hairdos, untimely fashions, warped images, mean and spiteful captions, twittering tweeting shots to share on Instagram or Tumblir, to let your Facebook Friends see who you really are...better yet, who you are in the light of day...
How I envy Marie Alyce. Marie Alyce and her lost memories. I have come here to the creek to throw this book away. Not a good book I say, Not Good Not Good, in my childish Dr. Seuss voice. I am wearing a red and white striped hat and curling my tail, a snarl at my lip. Oh Pepper would be proud of my stance, but jealous of my costume. He would remind me I need a cane. A cane to tap on the floor to make my point. Tap. Tap. Gone. Gone. Gone. Away I am going. Away I am going. Away away I am gone. Old memories are likes stones in my pockets, weighing me down and I have had enough. This coat of many shudders deserves to be recycled in the rush of the water bubbling in the creek below where I stand.
￼Then I see her standing on the other bank. One hand is raised in greeting. I know her face. She is a child. Dressed in a mismatched pair of shorts and a sea foam green blouse hanging out half tucked. Slightly pudgy, still not yet fully formed, the smile of an innocent beckoning me forward. Her hair is the color of milk chocolate, curling down over her collar, with a bow clipping her bangs back and out of her face. She is smiling, her cheeks dimpled and sweet. She sees me and shades her eyes from the sun with one hand, as she waves, this time in earnest, afraid that I have missed her greeting, or misunderstood her message of welcome. This child before me, is an innocent. The world has not touched her yet. Her eyes sparkle with the the horizon of the future glowing well beyond her grasp.
I see her. I see, even this far away, every detail of her being. She just wants to play. She wants to play with me. She sees me and I duck my head for fear that she will truly see me, all my secrets exposed, all my fears and wants and needs sprinkled across the grass at my ankles.
I am grown. I should have more of me to show for myself. I am bent and wearied from solitary travel, eager for a rest, and she is eager for nothing more than a romp. A hand in hand walk with me. A hand in hand stroll down to the creek, where we will kick off our shoes and tickle our way across the mossy exposed trickery slippery rocks, until we meet in the middle, in the middle of this riddle. This chance meeting of Here and There.
I shudder at the fear of falling on the rocks. The humiliation of my age, a broken bone that never heals, a splash of mud and stained clothes, and the most frightening of all, to be seen. Every wrinkle, every bump, each and every flaw, mistake and error of my ways, my so much more in the future than she, what a waste of time for her I am, for someone who has so much time left ahead.
￼I will only weigh her down, get in her way, scare her off. All I can think to myself in a very loud and maternal voice, as I raise my eyes and shield my face with my hand,...
It wasn't supposed to end this way.
Oh child, it was never meant to end this way.
As tears stream down my face, I see her, standing precariously in the middle of the stream, her arms outstretched, gathering me in with...
You think too much.
The truth is where I end, you begin. And I begin, where you end.
You put away your childish things, in your haste to grow, but you will never lose the child in you, for you see, here I am, exactly when you needed me the most, and could ask the least. Wherever you want to go, I go too.
I love you. I really do. I'm so glad you're back. Back where you belong. Here with Me.
I reach out my hand. Feel her hand in mine.
A child shall lead, if you are willing to follow. So I do.
I follow her from Here to There.
￼The river rocks sparkle and wink as they line up in perfect formation. Pointing. Pointing the way home. Child-like giggling tee hee hee voices of delight, the smell of wisteria, gardenias, and lilacs laughing in the wind. The wind at my back, and as far as I can see, fields and fields of wild untamed unfettered rugs of riotous color spread out under my feet. Soft curlicues of columbine and vines of bougainvillea curling up and in on itself, the scent of lemon trees heavy with fruit, the plains and hills and valleys, rolling gently, leading up to the base of the mountains, the wispy clouds tickling the tops, as eagles and parakeets play from the foothills to the tree line. The sun is shining through the cold water droplets on the edges of the clouds playing hide and seek, until we rise above and lower down in the valleys beyond. We have been over the sea and back again. Played in the rivers and the dells. Sung in the bayous, and whispered in the swamps. Sifted sand through our fingers in the desert, pricked our fingers on the cactus, sucked on sore fingers, and healed them with the balm of aloe.
Everything is here. Here in the Wild. The women's voices blend into a melodious strain. A familiar tune of childhood lullabies and sweet good nights. I am enchanted by their countenance, their blooming splendor and their outrageous color palette. Where there is thirst, the earth pauses, storm clouds gather over the sea, and the wind carries refreshments to the sere and the parched briars. The sun warms and the night cools. The cycle of nature repeats and repeats its mathematical design, the leaves gather in patterns and shapes, the tides ebb and flow in numerical sequences, the curves of the shells revolve round and round, and the symmetrical branches of the trees reach out their arms in welcome to the nesters and the night owls.
I am home.
Home in the garden.
￼Exactly where I started. Where everything begins. And everything ends. The Here and the There.
From the seed to the bud to the flower to the drooping leaves to the wilt and the wane of the seasons. From Spring to Summer to Fall and Winter. From the newness of youth to the withering of age and the cold of darkness, only to be followed by the cleansing spring rains.
We are all welcome here. Here in the garden. We are all one single pattern in the line and design of Mother Nature's infinite plan for us. We sow, we weed and we hoe. We groom and feed and whisper words of encouragement as the early bloomers rise. We cherish the weaker foliage, we stake them up and hover near by. No flower is ever left unattended. The trees lean in to shade, the weeds are pulled to provide safety, the critters fenced out to ensure growth. And much to our surprise and even dismay, some of the tiniest treasures manage only a single season while the magnificent Redwoods age ever upward. There are no promises made in the garden, except for one.
Should you desire to take the chance, to be, to grow, to become, to accept, to forgive, to forget and to always be kind, the gardeners, the Yard Yeti Women, the gardeners of the Heartland will walk with you every step of the way.
I know this because here I sit in my Adirondack chair, clad in my Yellow Wellies, my cheeks dimpled and bare, and upon my head a
￼cascade of begonias, trailing columbine, gerbera daisies, and all of the flowers that I love, tickling me with their scent.
I am A Yard Yeti. A Yard Yeti Woman.
I lay a hand on my chest and feel the beating of a hummingbird's wings, that tiny flutter flutter flutter, the building excitement of coming home after a long wayward journey, looking in all the wrong places, trying to be something else, someone else, when all I needed to see was me.
From There to Here, in the garden, no matter the season or the reason, the Yard Yetis, the Women of the Garden. women like me, and women like you, are always welcome and will live forever, in the Wild.
And never ever in the Tame.
Remember. Your secrets are safe with me. Except for the ones I posted on the Internet.
And to All the Yard Yeti Women Wannabes across the globe who struggle with living in the Tame, may you know that we, the Yard Yeti Women of the Garden, are here, lush and wild, untamed, and at your disposal. Call on us. Seek us out.
We will never ever leave you. Not now.
To find us, merely raise your eyes to the heavens and wait a moment for the stars to align.
To line up to guide us to you and to bring you home.
Safely home, where you belong.